RITUAL OF DEATH. Well now, that's a pretty generic title. What exactly is a "ritual of death"? Some would say that's marriage. I wouldn't disagree. Some would say that's autoerotic asphyxiation. David Carradine and Michael Hutchence would agree. Truth is, RITUAL OF DEATH isn't about either marriage or autoerotic asphyxiation. So then, what is it about? Fuck if I know. But it's a ton of fun nonetheless. Filled with nekkid Brazilian babes, green pus, goats head soup and one or two genuinely repulsive gooey FX that make you wonder if they weren't on loan from some early Peter Jackson film, if I had to sum up RITUAL OF DEATH in three words, I'd probably go with this: What the fuck?
DOES THIS BOTHER YOU?
As I watched this film, I noticed several things. First of all, no one seemed to be reading their lines right. I’m not talking about bad acting – shit, every low budget horror film has their fair share of bad acting. No, in RITUAL OF DEATH it sounds like no one understands English – the inflections are off, there are odd pauses where they don’t belong, and accentuated words are always the wrong ones. “That’s what everybody says, around here.” “Well, at least we were able to get through…the whole piece today.” Those are just two examples, but pretty much every line in the movie is spoken like that. You wanna have fun? Play a drinking game where you down a shot every time someone takes an odd pause where...there shouldn’t be one or accentuates the wrong word. You’ll be drunk...before the half hour mark.
DO I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION YET?
The second thing I noticed is that there are quite a lot of abnormally hot young girls in RITUAL OF DEATH. And they like to get all nacky nacky and shit. That’s unusual for really really low budget films like this, where the roles of “college girls” are usually filled with 38-year-old strippers from the local Cupcakes Lounge. Or the director’s chubby tattooed friend. Or Shannon Tweed. So when hottie after hottie start parading their well-toned bodies across my little Zenith Trinitron, I start to wonder just how the fuck someone pulled this one off.
THE DASHING YOUNG BRAD. HE'S A LADYKILLER.
The answer to both questions is simple. RITUAL OF DEATH was filmed by one of Brazil’s most infamous pornographers, Fauzi Mansur. So yeah, the dude probably just thumbed through his rolodex and picked out the best-looking ten names – and in the land of Adriana Lima, you can’t go wrong even with porn stars. That would also explain each character’s endless trouble with the English language. Oddly enough, it sounds like everyone’s lines were recorded separately, in the middle of an empty B-52 aircraft hangar, then dubbed back in later, giving the film a feel not unlike those old Italian Hercules films. It’s a fucking lexographer’s wet dream. Literally.
ANGIE, YOU CAN'T SAY WE NEVER TRI-I-IED.
The story, by the way, what little there is, concerns a boy named Brad, who starts having hallucinations about ancient Egyptian/Indian Satanic rituals, where a dapper British looking gent who got kicked off the set of the Avengers gives him a hairy book while his decaying hands drip strawberry milk. Brad’s friend, meanwhile, looks like a Magic: The Gathering fan who scoffs at Brad’s hallucinations and instead reminds him that Brent Spiner will be appearing at next month’s Comic Con so they better get tickets now.
It’s too bad no one believes Brad, because soon he’s rubbing raw bloody goat liver on his chest in his bedroom while his semi-drunk and fully-retarded Granny (just wait till you her how much trouble she has with the English language) starts cackling like a banshee with Downs syndrome. Next thing you know, a buxom Brazilian hottie is taking a bath with a bloody goats head while someone is yelling really fucking annoyingly in the background. It’s hot in a really confusing fucked-up Satanic way, but if you’re turned on by that kinda stuff, better rub one out quick because Comic Con dude shows up with his flabby man-ass not long after to join her for a little double Goats Head Soup. You have been warned.
AW SHIT, THAT JUST CHANGED THE MPAA RATING.
Meanwhile, Comic Con dude has figured out that Brad might be possessed by the spirit of an ancient priest, and while he’s explaining it to Brad at the breakfast table, a girl in a red dress suddenly walks into the room, picks up a portrait of said Satanic preacher, and props it conveniently between the two guys for the camera to linger on. Exposition on a budget, you can’t beat that with a stick. Then Brad’s troubles really start.
It all starts when he gets up in the middle of the night to pop a really big zit, which explodes disgustingly on the bathroom mirror in a torrent of butterscotch pudding. But soon after, he’s literally peeling off the side of his face in a scene that’s even more nasty than the scene in Poltergeist, ripping off skin while Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle green goop runs down the side of his neck. It’s truly gruesome stuff, very effective for such a low-budget film. And a bummer if you were digging the Brazilian porn.
FUCK, AND THE PROM IS TOMORROW NIGHT!
Now possessed, Brad goes on a killing spree, ripping out hot young Brazilian girls’ intestines with a claw hammer while his body count rises dramatically. Which kinda sucks actually, because this freak is wasting some seriously hot Victoria’s Secret ass, and in my country, that doesn’t come along every day. It does for Brad, though, and amazingly enough, even though he’s still oozing day-glo green slime and looks like shit, these South American hotties are still offering their meat balloons to him at the drop of a hat (or body part in this case). Jesus, back when I was in high school, all it took was a big whitehead to make you an anathema to every chick in the building. Again, I ask. What the fuck?
DUDE'S STILL GOT IT GOIN' ON.
Yet the Brazilian babes keep coming, and keep taking off their shirts willy nilly for this emotionless, frail fuckface. But the worst part about it by far – he doesn’t even take advantage of it! Every time he’s faced with a half-naked babe, he kills her. Right away too. It’s not like he’s a necrophiliac either, ‘cuz as soon as they’re dead, he walks away. This dude throws away more teen poontang than Scott Baio and Pauly Shore combined. Only one babe in the entire fucking film seems to realize he’s messed up, and that's the best line in the movie. There she is, face to face with Brad, who’s now dressed in a Dollar Tree Mr. Executioner sub-Renaissance Faire costume, covered in blood from the neck down, his melting, decayed, green-pustuled hands carrying bloody chains, and she actually, swear to God, says – “Something’s wrong here!” Yes, oh yes there is honey. Your shirt’s still on.
I'VE GOT A HEADACHE AND I DON'T WEAR PANTS.
Meanwhile, in another classic bit of dialogue, Brazilian’s finest are finally closing in on Brad. Bimbo 1: “One of the policemen made a drawing based on the description.” Teen 2 (after looking at it): “It’s awful!” Teen 3: “We think it’s Brad!” Thanks, guys. No wonder this kid’s killing you off. Meanwhile, Brad’s now backstage at some playhouse, now killing dudes this time, because hey, what the hell, what does it matter if you’re not gonna fuck ‘em? Brad, still dressed like a bad WWF wrestler, pushes a big spinning stage fan toward one stupid frat boy, who literally lays on the floor screaming “No! No! It’s not safe!” for what feels like three fucking minutes while Brad slo-o-o-wly pushes the spinning blades at him. Only this time, in an unexpected and inspired moment of wry comedy (aw, who are we fooling, it was probably just a mistake), it’s not the blades that get him, it’s the tiny little fucking lawnmower tires that squash him like a ripe pomegranate until his small intestine spills out on the stage floor. And that, in a nutshell, is why you should find a copy of RITUAL OF DEATH at all costs. Because there’s lots of gore. Good, gooey, drippy, oozing pustules of disgusting gore, and the effects still stand up fairly well today. In fact, they might be better, being of the prosthetic appliance and real animal guts variety versus today’s shitty computer generated crap. Yes, the acting sucks. Yes, the dialogue sucks. And yes, swear to God, a black cop actually says “What are you jiving at?” in this movie.
I'M AN INTERIOR DECORATOR. AND I DON'T WEAR PANTS.
But despite its shortcomings and its stream-of-conscious Satanic plotline (if there even is one), it’s got sex and it’s got violence. And it’s got one of the world’s most hilariously inept screeching female death metal tribal fuck theme songs with lyrics about weasels and Satan and Satanic weasels. The kids around town tell me there used to be an alternative rock band called Screeching Weasel. Well, these girls are the real deal. And it’s the only possible way to end a big steaming, dripping cesspool of demonic filth like RITUAL OF DEATH. And that, in case you didn’t know, was a ringing endorsement.
FOUR OUT OF FIVE KARIS.
FAST FORWARDING TO THE GOOD PARTS:
GOD, I USED TO LOVE DURAN DURAN VIDEOS!
23 minutes – Topless babe takes bath with bleeding goats head. Nice swirling MTV camera style. Who the fuck is screaming in the background though? Be quick, buzzkill approaching with sudden man ass.
25 minutes – Hey, it’s the Egyptian/Brazilian high school stage rendition of Barbarella!
37 minutes – The blueprint of bad acting, an incredible non-stop string of bad actors and actresses exchange the worst readings in the history of cinema, ending with the should-be-cult-classic line “Brad, you asshole!” (Shaking fist in the air defiantly)
39 minutes – More topless Goats Head Soup.
40 minutes – The disgusting zit pop/face rip scene. Nothing a half gallon of Clearasil couldn’t solve.
48 minutes – Full-frontal Devil sex, Skinemax-style. With Eighties bush! How retro!
51 minutes – Another Brazilian hottie doffs her top willingly for Pustule Man. And yes, her breasts are as fantastic as her acting is terrible.
53 minutes – A black cop says “What are you jiving at?” Racial relations in Brazil take one giant step backwards.
56 minutes – Another hottie hangs up painting with no pants on.
57 minutes – Her reward? A knife in the mouth. The ENTIRE knife.